Research Methods I

The details
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Thursday 03 October 2019
Saturday 14 December 2019
29 March 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MRESQ14512 Analysing Language Use,
MA Q11012 Applied Linguistics,
MRESQ10412 Experimental Linguistics,
MA Q15012 Psycholinguistics,
MA Q14012 Language in Society,
MA QX1312 Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

Module description

The module will first explain what research methods are and which methods (qualitative, quantitative or mixed) are appropriate for various types of research questions. The rest of the sessions will each introduce students to a specific research method.

Week 2
What are research methods? What are the differences between quantitative and qualitative research?

Week 3
From literature review to research questions (and hypotheses)

Introduction to mixed-methods research

Week 4
Experiments and quasi-experiments

Week 5
Surveys and Corpora

Week 6
Selecting participants for a quantitative study

Week 7
What is qualitative research? Introduction to qualitative approaches and methods.

Week 8
Ethnography, Case studies and Action research 1

Week 9
Ethnography, Case studies and Action research 2

Week 10
Classroom observation

Week 11
Think aloud

Module aims

This module will introduce students to research methods relevant to Applied Linguistics and TEFL and, to a lesser extent, Psycholinguistics. This introduction to research methods will prove helpful when students plan and conduct their MA dissertation projects and perhaps other research projects later on. Students will learn about both quantitative (e.g., survey, experiment) and qualitative (e.g., classroom observation, diary study) research methods.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:
• understand the research process
• formulate viable research questions
• decide on which method(s) would be most appropriate for specific research questions
• go about preparing a research project in a principled manner
• discuss methodology and research findings of published studies
• use terminology related to research methods.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

10 2-hour lectures. There will be a fair number of classroom discussions and practical tasks done in groups.


  • Cohen, Louis; Manion, Lawrence; Morrison, Keith. (2018) Research methods in education, London: Routledge.
  • Mann, Steve. (2016) The research interview: reflective practice and reflexivity in research processes, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Field, Andy P.; Hole, Graham. (2003) How to design and report experiments, London: Sage.
  • Mackey, Alison; Gass, Susan M. (2012) Research methods in second language acquisition: a practical guide, Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework Moodle Quiz 30%
Coursework Assignment 1: 900 Word Essay: Quantitative Methods 11/11/2019 35%
Coursework Assignment 2: 900 Word Essay: Qualitative Methods 16/12/2019 35%

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Sophia Skoufaki and Tracey Costley
Sophia Skoufaki, 4.123, (0120687)3754, sskouf@essex.ac.uk Tracey Costley, 4.127, (01206) 872227, tcostley@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

Prof Ianthi Maria Tsimpli
The University of Cambridge
Chair of English and Applied Linguistics
Available via Moodle
Of 22 hours, 20 (90.9%) hours available to students:
2 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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